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'Loved. Respected. Never forgotten': Football pays tribute to Gary Speed 10 years on from his death

Krishan Davis
Gary Speed passed away ten years ago
Gary Speed passed away ten years ago / Stu Forster/GettyImages

27 November 2021 marks a decade since the death of legendary former Wales midfielder Gary Speed.

A hugely popular character, the father-of-two took his own life in 2011 aged just 42.

Speed was a fans favourite at Newcastle, Everton, Leeds, Bolton and Sheffield United, and those clubs among others have paid tribute to their former player ten years on from his tragic death.

The classy left-sided midfielder started his career at Leeds and made nearly 250 appearances for the club, including in the Champions League, before a spell at boyhood club Everton. A six-year stint with Newcastle followed, including an FA Cup final and another foray into Europe's premier club competition.

During his time at Bolton between 2004 and 2006, Speed became the first player to reach 500 Premier League appearances.

In 2010, Speed was appointed an MBE for services to football.

Speed captained Wales from 1998 until his international retirement in 2004 and was eventually named national team manager in 2010. He still held the position at the time of his death.

Former Football Focus presenter Dan Walker provided one particularly poignant testimony, recalling the day before the Welshman's death when they had been together in the studio recording an episode of the BBC show.

Writing for The Athletic, Speed's ex-teammate and close friend Alan Shearer said of his time at Newcastle: "He was 28, but immediately became the standard-bearer for fitness at the club, constantly popping vitamins.

"In running sessions, he’d lead from the front and I’d be trailing miles behind. He’d look around and laugh… Ah, man, that laugh of his. It was unexpected, high-pitched, squeaky, and your face would melt just hearing it, even when you were blowing out of your arse.

"That was Speedo; always smiling through."

Shearer continued: "November 27, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of Gary’s death. Even now, it is impossible to compute. The Speedo I knew was happy, admired by everyone who came across him, which is pretty much unique in football. That smile – plastered across his face – was what I knew."

Rest in peace, Speedo.